A Composition Urging The Generation Of The Bodhi Mind
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        My name is Shih-Hsien. I am a foolish and worldly monk. With great respect, I humbly bow to the present assembly. I would like to talk sincerely to all virtuous men and women in the present world, and I can only wish all of you to give me a compassionate ear and take a little time to listen to and understand what the Dharma is. Sometimes if one hears and learns the major, important Dharma, he might then be able to enter the Tao and achieve the Bodhi Mind; but he must first recognize that it is his pressing and urgent business to practice and, foremost, to take a strong vow to achieve that Bodhi Mind. Only then do the thought and the intention arise to convert all sentient beings and to achieve the Bodhi Mind to attain Enlightenment. If you do not generate the great Bodhi Mind or if you do not establish a firm vow, then, even though you were to pass through Kalpas as numberless and infinite as all the dust motes in the infinite universe, you would still be trapped in the realms of transmigration. You may even have achieved a certain level in your practice, but unless you undergo some suffering, you will have worked, in reality, without achieving anything whatsoever.
        Therefore, the Avatamasaka Sutra says. "To practice all the virtues but to have forgotten and lost the Bodhi Mind is the Karma of a demon." Still, while forgetting the Bodhi Mind is bad enough, what about those who never even generate the Bodhi Mind? It must be made very clear that if one wants to learn the Vehicle of Tathagata, he must first take the Great Vow of the Bodhisattva. This must be done now, without delay!
        However, there are many different minds and vows and many different ways and methods. If the correct progress? With this in mind, I would like to explain simply to all of you the correct and the incorrect ways to generate and practice the Bodhi Mind. There are eight different words that describe the modes of thought motivating the generation and practice of the Bodhi Mind. The eight modes of thought are as follows: The Deflected, the Right, the True, the False, the Great, the Small, the Partial and the Complete.
        Just what is the meaning of all these words and classifications? There exist some people who practice but who really do not understand their own Mind; they only search from the outside or wish to have fame or popularity and to nourish their own selves through grasping and material gain. While this mode of thought and action may achieve some good reward in a future life, it is, nevertheless, incomplete and is called Deflected Thought.
        If you do not seek any fame or gain and are not greedy for some reward or pleasure but concentrate only on the idea of birth and death as well as the idea of the Tao of Bodhi and if you seek this Tao of Bodhi thought after thought and try to convert all sentient beings from moment to moment -- just this kind of thought is called Right Thought.
        If, even though you have heard that it takes a very long time to attain the Buddha stage, you  do not fear and never think of regressing or giving up, and if, even thought it appears to be almost impossibly difficult to convert all sentient beings, you never tire, but, on the contrary, as if climbing the highest mountain you must, of necessity, want to arrive at the peak or, as if ascending a tall tower you urgently want to reach the top, continuing tirelessly and with good faith -- just this kind of thought is called True Thought.
        If you are one who does not repent his own evil and who does not correct his own errors, who is clear on the outside while remaining turbid within, who is diligent at the beginning but becomes negligent at the end, and even if you do some good action but most of the time it is mixed with dirty, impure, defiled perceptions -- just this kind of thought is called False Thought.
        Only when the realm of sentient beings comes to its end, then and only then my Great Vow also ends; only when all sentient beings achieve Supreme Enlightenment, then and only then will my Vow be completed --just this kind of thought is called Great Thought.
        To perceive as prison the Three Realms, to conceive the continuous cycle of birth and death as an enemy, and to think only of converting oneself -- just this kind of thought is called Small Thought.
        If one thinks there really are sentient beings and Buddhas outside of the mind and then wishes to convert others and to attain Enlightenment, not forgetting the virtues nor the goal of any other view -- just this kind of thought is called Partial Thought.
        If one understands that one's own nature is all sentient beings and, therefore, takes a Vow to convert them, and if he thinks that his own nature is the Way of Buddha and, therefore, takes a Vow to attain Complete Enlightenment, and if he never sees any Dharma as separate from the mind or causing a single thought to arise and, furthermore, takes a Vow that all actions and even the attainment of Enlightenment are, in reality, all void -- just this kind of thought is called Complete Thought.
        If one can understand clearly the meanings of these eight different modes of thought and practice, then he should be able, after carefully considering all of them, to make up his own mind about which to give up and which to follow. First, one must examine these eight different modes -- the Deflected, the Right, the True, the False, the Great, the Small, the Partial and the Complete. Then one should ask himself. "Just how can I abandon the incorrect modes of thought and receive and follow the correct ones?" Finally he should realize clearly that just the thought of giving up or abandoning the Deflected, the Small, the False and the Partial and the subsequent receiving and following of the Right, the True, the Great and the Complete is called the True Bodhi Mind.
        The Bodhi Mind is the foremost of all the virtues. However, the correct causes and conditions must exist to start or generate the Bodhi Mind. The ten different causes that generate the Bodhi Mind are as follows:

1) Thinking about the great grace of Buddha;
2) Thinking about the grace of one's parents;
3) Thinking about the grace of one's teachers and masters;
4) Thinking about the grace almsgiver;
5) Thinking about the grace of all sentient beings;
6) Thinking about the suffering of birth and death;
7) Respecting one's own Self-Nature;
8) Repenting all one's evil Karma;
9) Wishing to be born in the Pure Land;
10) Wishing the Right Dharma to remain permanently in the world.
        What is the great grace of Buddha? Immeasurable numbers of Kalpas ago, Sakyamuni Buddha made up his mind to save all of us by practicing the Bodhisattva Tao, during which he would bear all kinds of suffering. Whenever we create any bad or evil Karma, the Buddha pities us and expediently teaches us to improve our conduct and actions. However, we are foolish and neither know how to believe in nor how to  receive the Dharma. Whenever we fall into Hell states, Buddha pities us very much and wishes to remove all the suffering from our minds, but our Karma is very deep and we are almost beyond help. Fortunately, however, during this time when we are born as human beings, the Buddha has kindly taught us to do good always in order to avoid falling into Hell states; he always protects us, never forsaking us even for a moment.
        Nevertheless, even if the Buddha were now to appear in the world, we would still be sunk in the gloom of the cycle of birth and death, for, at present, we have the bodies of human beings, while Buddha has attained the transcendence of Nirvana. Due to our past and present sins, we have been born in this Dharma-ending age. Due to our past and present blessings, we have become Buddhists and have the opportunity to leave home. Due to our past and present obstacles, we cannot see the golden body of Buddha, but due to our fortunate circumstances, we can now hear the Buddhadharma. Please think about this frequently! If we did not have good roots from our previous lives, then how could we possibly know the great grace of Buddha? This grace and this virtue, then, are extremely important. If we could only generate our Bodhi Mind and do what the Bodhisattvas do -- i.e., spread Buddhadharma and convert all sentient beings even at the cost of their own lives -- wouldn't the result itself be the reward? This, then, is the primary reason why we must generate and embrace the Bodhi Mind.
        What is the grace of parents? It is their suffering and toiling to conceive, bear and rear us and to take care of our every need and to love us until we are grown up. However, our parents wish us, in return, to bring glory to our own families and ancestors. In order to offer sacrifices to them we, perhaps, might leave home to hold, without the necessary qualifications or sincerity, the post of monk, but this cannot bring glory to our families nor is it a proper offering to our parents. While our parents are alive, they cannot offer their bodies; and when they are dead, they cannot save their spirits. This is a great loss to the world, and there is most serious offence which we should take great care to avoid. Think about it! To avoid such an offence, just vow to practice the Tao of Bodhi for hundreds of thousands of Kalpas and to convert all sentient beings in the ten directions in the three periods. Then, not only our parents in this life, but also even all our parents in previous lives will be saved. Then, not only one's own parents, but also even everybody else's parents will be delivered. This is the second reason to generate and embrace the Bodhi Mind.
        What is the grace of masters and teachers? Our parents can only give birth to our bodies; but if we did not have masters and teachers, then we would not know what propriety, justice, honesty and a sense of shame are. If we did not have a teacher of the supramundane, then we would not know the four cardinal virtues and would remain in the ignorant condition of lower beings. If we did not come to understand the Dharma with the help of our teachers and masters, then we would remain ignorant like laymen. However, if we do know something about the four cardinal virtues and understand something about the Dharma, wear yellow robes and take the complete monastic discipline, we must realize that we have learned all we know from our teachers and masters. If we seek and study only the Small Vehicle, we benefit only ourselves. Now, however, we are studying the Great Vehicle and wish all teachers and masters -- mundane and supramundane -- to benefit. This is the third reason to generate and embrace the Bodhi Mind.
        What is the grace of almsgiver? We monks have expenses every day, but we possess nothing of our own. Our two meals a day, our four-season robes, medicine and all other necessaries for our lives are the result of others' work. Others make money by the sweat of their brows, while we live leisurely, year after year, in a big hall and a spacious, secure building. Those others are always working very hard so we can have free time. Knowing this, how can we have any peace of mind? We enjoy easy living conditions, even while others stay in straw huts under disturbing, uncomfortable conditions. Others spin and weave very busily so we can have robes. We take others' benefit to enrich ourselves. And for what reason? If we do not have genuine great compassion for and wisdom to assist in the salvation of all sentient beings, then not even a grain of rice or an inch of silk will be their reward in the next life, for no one can escape his Karma. This is the fourth reason to generate and embrace the Bodhi Mind.
        What is the grace of all sentient beings? From time without beginning, all sentient beings and I have been each others' parents of children or have been parents mutually, etc., and, therefore, have some grace in relationship to each other. Theoretically, isn't this reasonable? For who knows for certain or absolutely that flying insects and even verminous creatures, let alone higher animals, were not my previous relatives? For example, if someone is separated from his parents when he is very young, he forgets his parents' features as he grows up. How much less then can one remember some relative from a previous life! Is it not, if considered in this light, very difficult to know who Chang is and who Want is? When beings call for help in Hell and become lost in hungry-ghost conditions, who knows how much suffering they are undergoing? Where and to whom can they complain about their suffering and starvation? Even though we cannot see, hear or feel their suffering, the Buddha, nevertheless, has told us about their agonies many times in the sutras. How can those who hold heterodox views ever come to understand these things? Thus, the Bodhisattva saw that ants were our parents in many previous lives and even understood that they will all become Buddhas in the future. Therefore, we should think about the past benefits that we have received from all sentient beings and really be grateful to them. This, then, is the fifth  reason to generate and embrace the Bodhi Mind.
        What is the suffering of birth and death? Since time without beginning, all sentient beings and I myself have never achieved liberation from the cycle of birth and death, and so we must continue to appear and disappear. We must continue to rise and fall among human beings in this world or in other worlds. Suddenly we are in heaven, suddenly again we are in the human condition, then suddenly again we find ourselves in hell-states, animal-states or ghost-states. Se go out of the door in the morning and return  in the evening, we have a short respite from hell but return again quickly. If w climb a hill of swords, we mutilate our bodies. If we climb a tree of swords, we rip open every square inch of our bodies. Eating hot iron cannot satisfy our hunger. Drinking molten copper cannot quench our thirst, rather, such an act only consumes our lives and intestines. However, even if one's body is dissected by a sharp saw to the point of complete dismemberment, it is soon reassembled. Thus, the dead, blown by the karmic wind, are quickly resurrected. You absolutely could not bear to see or hear those beings with their tragic cries, loud with suffering the pain of burning in fire, without even a drop of relieving moisture, in the city of raging fire. Their bodies either look as blue as lotus flowers or as red as lotus roots. Ten thousand births and deaths in Hell Equal one night in the world of mortals. The suffering of one day in Hell is equal to the suffering of one hundred years in the world. Such activity frequently tires even the jailers, who know that this punishment is being meted out by Yarna.
        However, it is too late for regret when one is already in the midst of suffering if you forget about the reality of suffering when you are free, happy and unburdened, then you will, doubtlessly, again create, intentionally or unintentionally, bad Karma. Who knows whether or not the sad, suffering horse that we are whipping so cruelly was once our mother? Who knows whether or not the terrified, suffering pig we are dragging so mercilessly to slaughterhouse was once our father? All worldly people, by eating meat, eat their relatives, but they do not realize that it  is wrong Furthermore, some enemy in the present might have been a affectionate friend in a previous life. Members of a family in this life might have been enemies in a previous life. Someone in a previous life was one's father, but in this life is one's husband. If one fully comprehends the previous existences of oneself and others, he should feel shame and humiliation. If one could look at everything with heavenly eyes, then it would all be laughable; and one would feel oneself to be just a simple, ordinary person,
        Living in excretion and slime, uncomfortably fixed upside down in his mother's womb as a fetus for nine months, one, as a baby, does not know the difference between east and west. However, his knowledge increase gradually as the child grows up, just as passions also arise. After we are reborn, ailments and suffering once again attach the impermanent elements of the body, which are stuck by wind and fire simultaneously, causing great discomfort. Soon, in a condition of disease and old age, the intelligent spirit becomes disordered from within, blood and swear evaporate, and skin and muscle dry up from the outside. It feels as if needles are jabbing into each and every pore and as if knives are cutting through each and every vital organ. Even if a tortoise wanted to take off its shell, it would be easier for him to do than it would be for the intelligent spirit, in its pain and agony, to separate itself from the body, which is almost impossible. For then the mind would have no permanent host and would be like a merchant travelling and shifting from place to place with no home. then the body would have not definite shape and would be like a house that keeps  changing form constantly.
        Even to try to calculate the number of changes in the elements of the body in any one period of time, short or long, is as impossible as trying to calculate the number of changes, in any selected time period, in the elements of a complex of crushed or split atoms. Furthermore, if we saw and comprehended all our previous lives clearly, we would shed an amount of tears that would fill the four oceans, knowing the suffering of those beings whom we have loved, have been loved by the have been separated from. Bones, as numerous as all the blades of grass, would be piled higher than the highest mountain. Corpses, in number as dense as all the weeds, would cover the whole earth.
        If you have not heard the Buddhadharma, how can you possibly know about all these things? If you have not studies the sutras, how can you possibly comprehend anything about your previous lives? One who always hesitates to part with the things he loves will always be confused, and there is the fear that he may remain ignorant for many kalpas because he has not had a chance to hear the Buddhadharma.
        It is very difficult to gain rebirth in the body of a human being, but it is, also, very easy to lose the human form. Also, having the form of a human being is a good opportunity to move and develop quickly but very difficult to trace. Imperceptibly the life process, even though a sentient beings has been separated from it for a very long time, unfolds the evil reward of the three unhappy ways followed in previous lives, the effects of which one must always bear by oneself. This misery, beyond description, cannot be borne by any substitute but only by oneself. The reality of this condition is very sad if you just think about it a little. Therefore, we should distance ourselves from the stormy sea of passion and depart from the stream of birth and death as soon as possible; also, we should convert others and fervently hope that all sentient boughs may arrive on the other shore very soon. Please understand clearly and remember that this is a very special opportunity that we all have only at this time now that we are human beings. This, then, is the sixth reason to generate, concentrate and embrace the Bodhi Mind.
        What does the phrase "to respect one's own Self-Nature" really mean? We, in our present minds, are not any different from Sakyamuni Buddha. However, why did the World Honored One attain Enlightenment numberless Kalpas ago while we are still confused and why do we still have inverted worldly views? The Dharma ha immeasurable supernatural power, wisdom and the adornment of inexhaustible virtue, but we have much Karma and affliction, being, as we are, still under the bondage of the cycle of birth and death. So, even though we and Sakyamuni Buddha are of the same Mind, there is still a vast difference between our confused state and his enlightened State.
        If we really thought about it morning and evening, wouldn't we be ashamed to realize that we have allowed our Self-Nature -- a priceless, perfect pearl -- to sink into the mud of impurity, like trash, to be utterly neglected? Understanding this, we must develop various good and skillful methods and Dharmas to purify our defilement and cure our disease. For example, we should develop virtue through practice, and then the virtue of our Self-Nature will reveal itself to be as lustrous as a perfect pearl, as clear as a diamond and as bright and shining as the evening star on a clear night. Thus, we should never be ungrateful for Buddha's teaching, nor should we ever degrade the spirit of our own Self-Nature. This, then,  is the seventh reason to generate and embrace the Bodhi Mind.
        What does the phrase "to repent all evil Karmas" mean? The sutra says: "Even if one commits one Duskrta (a light sin), he would have to spend time equivalent to four times five hundred years of the deva kings in Hell." The sutra says further: "Ever committing one tiny Duskrta has this punishment, so how much more must be that for committing grave sins!" Such punishment is beyond description. Now, even as we are living our daily lives, our every movement and every action, most of the time, violate the monastic discipline. We even commit Duskrta during our meals. So, since even the number of Duskrta committed in one day is countless, how much more inconceivably countless is the number committed in a whole lifetime and throughout many kalpas?
        Sometimes we talk about the five precepts, which we go against very often; but most of the time we hide rather than confess our violations. Don't even talk about the discipline of the Sramanera, the Bhiksu and the Bodhisattva! Most of us cannot completely observe and fulfill even the five precepts of the Upasaka! If one were asked his name and if he were to answer, "I am a Bhiksu", and then if he were to confess his true spiritual condition, which might well reveal him not to be even as good as an Upasaka, wouldn't the resulting shame be unbearable? Therefore, if you take the discipline, you should not break it. If you break it, you will surely fall and regress to the state of lower beings. If you do not commiserate with yourself and others, if you do not sincerely repent before all sentient beings, and if you do not weep sincerely while confessing you sins, then, even though you were to live a thousand lifetimes and ten thousand kalpas, you could not escape the reward of evil. This, then, is the eighth reason to generate and embrace the Bodhi Mind.
        What does the phrase "to seek rebirth in the Pure Land" mean? If one practices in this world, it is very difficult to make progress; however, if one is reborn in the Pure Land, then it is easy to attain Enlightenment. The phrase "easy to attain Enlightenment" means complete attainment in one's present lifetime. The phrase "difficult to attain Enlightenment" means that even though one may take many kalpas, he still cannot attain complete Enlightenment. Therefore, the ancient sages and masters all sought rebirth in the Pure land. Also, many sutras and sastras direct us to rebirth in the Pure Land, for, in this Dharma-ending age, there is no better way to attain Enlightenment than to be reborn in the Pure Land. The sutra says: "If one has not enough good karma to be reborn in the Pure Land, he may, nevertheless, have enough good karma to be reborn with more bliss and more good." This "more bliss" mans that there is nothing better then generating, concentrating and embracing the great Bodhi Mind. Therefore, if one can, even temporarily, hold the name of Amitabha Buddha firmly in his mind, he instantly prevails over one hundred years of confusion, ignorance and suffering. If one, while making a charitable contribution, suddenly generates the Bodhi Mind, he instantly goes beyond many kalpas of practice in his attainment. However, if one repeats the name of Amitabha Buddha and wishes to become a Buddha but does not generate, concentrate and embrace the Bodhi Mind, then what advantages are there for him even though he were to repeat the name of Buddha ad infinitum?
        In contrast to this, if one can sincerely generate and embrace the Bodhi Mind in his practice, then, even though he is not reborn in the Pure Land, it is easy for him to be reborn in the world of suffering to help all sentient beings. Therefore, to repeat the name of Amitabha Buddha is to plow the field and sow the seeds of Bodhi. Then, naturally, the fruit of the Tao will grow and increase. Just board the great ship of your Vow, enter and set sail on the sea of the Bodhi Mind and decide to land at and attain rebirth in the port of the Pure Land. This, then, is the ninth reason to generate and embrace the Bodhi Mind.
        What assurance is there that the Right Dharma will remain in the world permanently? From many kalpas ago up to the present time, the World Honored One has practiced the Tao of Bodhi for us, performing very difficult acts and remaining very patient. When all the causes and effects were perfect and complete, he attained Perfect, Complete Enlightenment. Thereafter, at the end of his Dharma-spreading period, he entered Nirvana. Whenever the Buddha passes into Nirvana and vanishes, then there remains still only a period of decay and termination. Thus, we still have the doctrine even now, but we have no enlightened person to preach it. We neither know what characterizes the heterodox nor what characterizes the Right Dharma. Indeed, we have lost track of what is right and what is wrong! Therefore to satisfy and complete ourselves and others, we pursue both fame and wealth; and we seem to be flowing smoothly in the world, but we really do not know clearly anymore what the Buddha, what the Dharma and what the Sangha are. To realize this causes one to become very discouraged and despondent. Whenever I think about this, I shed a tear. What else can I say?
        I am a Buddhist, but I have not yet achieved much grace nor shown much gratitude. I have neither benefitted myself nor benefitted others. If I have done nothing good during my lifetime, then there will be nothing good after I die; and not even the highest heaven can conceal me, nor will the dense earth be able to hide me, the extreme sinner. The grief of realizing this is very difficult to bear. However, being at the end of one's rope, one suddenly forgets what is shallow and generates his Bodhi Mind immediately. If one cannot succeed, even with much effort, in turning back the adverse tide of the present time, he must decide, nevertheless, to take the Great Vow to protect the Buddhadharma in the future.
        Therefore, I call on all virtuous friends to come to the Bodhimandala (place of practice) to establish an assembly, to repent, each one, his own sins and to take the forty-eight vows. Each now is to be made for the conversion of all sentient beings and for the cultivation of deep mind during thousands of kalpas, with each thought being only of the Buddha from today to the end of time and to the end of the karmic body. Each vow is to be focussed on the simultaneous rebirth of all sentient beings in the Pure Land.
        After having achieved the nine grades of the Lotus, then one can return again to the Saha World to enable the light of Buddha to shine everywhere, to spread Dharma, to purify the sea of Saha, and to convert all the people of the world if the period of good fortune is extended. This, then, is the tenth reason for generating concentrating and embracing the Bodhi Mind.
        If one really understands everything about these ten reasons for generating, concentrating and embracing the Bodhi Mind and if one is also aware of the eight methods for achieving the Bodhi Mind, then he must recognize that he has a genuine aptitude; and he will, doubtlessly, find a way and a place to develop his Bodhi Mind.
        In order to generate the Bodhi Mind, we, fortunately, have the bodies of human beings, live in the world, and keep all our six sense-organs and the four elements in balance. We must have and maintain always a firm faith in the Dharma, avoiding any demonic hindrances. Furthermore, if we have left home (i.e., become Buddhist monks) to take and practice perfect discipline, to have a Bodhimandala, to hear Buddhadharma, to admire and worship the relics, and to practice repentance and meet virtuous friends, then we have created extraordinary causes and conditions for the generation and concentration of the Bodhi Mind. If we do not generate the Bodhi Mind today, when will we ever do it?! What are we waiting for?!
        Therefore, I ask the present assembly to sympathize with my humble opinion, to commiserate with my great pain, to take the same vow I have taken, and to generate and embrace the Bodhi Mind together with me. If you are one who has not yet generated the Bodhi Mind, you ought to do it now. If you are one who has already generated the Bodhi Mind, you must start increasing it immediately. If you are one who has already increased the Bodhi Mind, then you ought to continue increasing it forever. Try hard not to regress because of fear or difficulty. You should never, in some shallow, flippant manner, think that developing the Bodhi Mind is easy. You should neither be hasty nor lack persistence. You should neither be neglectful nor be without courage. You should never be dispirited without, at the same time, being aroused to action. You should not engage in leisurely pursuits without, simultaneously, thinking about improvement. You must not, unawares, become dull  in mind; and you must never dull your powers to slight yourself. It is like planting a tree -- even if you plant it on shallow ground, the roots gradually, with cultivation, grow deep. It is also like sharpening a knife -- even though the knife is dull, if you take the proper steps it will become sharp. To remain shallow, do not cultivate the plant; just let it dry up! To remain dull, do not sharpen the knife; just let it lie useless!
        If you think that practice creates suffering, then you do not yet realize that the negligence of practice creates even more suffering. Even being temporarily diligent and prudent in one's practice can lead to permanent happiness. However, being even temporarily negligent in one's practice during this life can cause even more suffering in future lives; but if you will just use the boat of Pure Land to leave the Saha World, then you need not worry about returning or regressing. To achieve the power of the Patient Endurance of the Uncrate, do not fret and worry about how difficult it is. You should just understand that  even a sinner in Hell also wishes to generate his Bodhi Mind. So how can we, who are both human beings and Buddhists, not take the Vow to generate, concentrate and embrace the Bodhi Mind during our present lifetime. Since time without beginning we have been confused and ignorant. But let bygones be bygones! If you can awaken now, it is still possible to do even more in the future.
        It is, indeed, a great pity for one to hold on obstinately to his wrong beliefs. If one understands the Dharma but does not practice, that is even more pitiful. If one fears the suffering of Hell, then he should, without hesitation, dedicate himself to progress. Furthermore, if one is aware that time swiftly passes and that everything is impermanent, then he must make sure that he is never indolent. One also needs the strong encouragement of the Dharma and the constancy and the assistance of a good friend to depend on to the end of this lifetime, someone from whom one is never separated; then one will not have any fear whatsoever of regressing or of getting lost and confused.
        You must never think that the generation and concentration of the Bodhi Mind is unimportant. You must never feel that to take a vow is without benefit. Just remember: If your mind is pure, then appearance is Reality. So, without hesitation, take the Great Vow to practice deeply. Just realize; The great void is not vast, but the Bodhi mind is vast! Just comprehend: A diamond is not firm, but the Great Vow is firm!
        If all people, with great constancy, never doubt or forsake my words, then the family of Bodhi will join together in an alliance of the Lotus Sect; and all people will then come to harbor the determination to be reborn together in the Pure Land in order to see Amitabha Buddha, to convert all sentient beings and to attain Complete Enlightenment. The adornment of hour life with all the virtues and the thirty-two Laksanas can really begin today if you sincerely generate, concentrate and embrace the Bodhi Mind land take the Great Vow immediately. If hope that all people will make a great effort to cooperate in this endeavor.

Merits Gained By Generating The Bodhi Mind
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        To generate and cultivate one's own Bodhi Mind is the fundamental principle in the learning and practice of Buddhadharma, the chief goal of which is to achieve Buddhahood. One can never hope to become Buddha if one does not generate and embrace his own Bodhi Mind. Moreover, only if one succeeds in becoming Buddha will he gain the power to convert all sentient beings. If one lives in the world and does any good whatsoever, he should gain some merit; but if he generates and cultivates his own Bodhi Mind, he will gain great merit. The Avatamsaka Sutra shows us that generating and cultivating one's own Bodhi Mind will gain him many merits, such as those listed in the various categories that follow.

I-TEN KINDS OF MERIT

The Bodhi Mind, like seed, produces all Buddhadharma.
The Bodhi Mind, like a fertile field, grows all Pure Dharmas in the minds of sentient beings.
The Bodhi Mind, like a vast pool, holds all the things of the world.
The Bodhi Mind, like pure water, washes away all defilements.
The Bodhi Mind, like the wind, blows without obstacle throughout the world.
The Bodhi Mind, like a conflagration, burns away all wrong views.
The Bodhi Mind, like the bright sun, illuminates the whole world.
The Bodhi Mind, like the full moon, shines on all Pure Dharmas in the world.
The Bodhi Mind, like a lamp, illuminates all sorts of dark thoughts.
The Bodhi Mind, like clear eyes, recognizes and discriminates among all dangerous and all safe places in the world.
II-NINE KINDS OF MERIT
The Bodhi Mind, like a broad way, allows all beings to enter the City of Wisdom.
The Bodhi Mind, like right belief, helps all beings reject wrong thought.
The Bodhi Mind, like a great vehicle, carries all Bodhisattvas.
The Bodhi Mind, like a great palace, is the appropriate place in which to practice Samadhi and holds all Buddhadharmas in safekeeping.
The Bodhi Mind, like a great garden, is a place where one can play and enjoy Dharma happiness.
The Bodhi Mind, like a great house, gives security and stability to all sentient beings.
The Bodhi Mind, like a haven of return and rest, benefits all sentient beings.
The Bodhi Mind, like a haven of return and rest, is depended on by all Bodhisattvas.


III-TWELVE KINDS OF MERIT

The Bodhi Mind, like a kindly father, teaches and guides all Bodhisattvas.
The Bodhi Mind, like a kindly mother, begets all Bodhisattvas.
The Bodhi Mind, like a nurse-teacher, rears and educates all Bodhisattvas.
The Bodhi Mind, like a good, wonderful, faithful friend, completes and benefits all Bodhisattvas.
The Bodhi Mind, like a king, surpasses all Two-Vehicle people.
The Bodhi Mind, like an emperor, has all the freedom it wishes.
The Bodhi Mind, like the vast oceans, contains all kinds of merits.
The Bodhi Mind, like great Mount Sumeru, creates equality in the minds of all sentient beings.
The Bodhi Mind, like the cakravala, contains all the numberless worlds.
The Bodhi Mind, like a snowy mountain, produces all kinds of wisdom-medicine.
The Bodhi Mind, like fragrant mountain flowers; produces all kinds of fragrant merits.
The Bodhi Mind, like vast, infinite space, is possessed of boundless wonderful merits.


IV-THIRTEEN KINDS OF MERIT

The Bodhi Mind, like a lotus-flower, is not defiled by any worldly thing.
The Bodhi Mind, like a wise trained elephant, is gentle and without coarseness.
The Bodhi Mind, like a fine horse, gallops away from all evil influences.
The Bodhi Mind, like a master that tames, controls and cherishes all his charges, protects all Mahayana Dharma.
The Bodhi Mind, like good medicine, cures all ills and purifies all defilements.
The Bodhi Mind, like a trap, can catch and halt all evil thoughts.
The Bodhi Mind, like a Vajra, pierces through all the things of the world.
The Bodhi Mind, like a fragrance-box, contains all the fragrant merits in the world.
The Bodhi Mind, like wonderful flowers, creates joy for all who encounter it.
The Bodhi Mind, like white Candana, removes distress so that one's feelings become clean and clear.
The Bodhi Mind, like black Agaru, permeates all the Dharmadhatus.
The Bodhi Mind, like the Medicine King, can cure or eliminate all defilements and disease.
The Bodhi Mind, Agada, draws out the painful arrows of illusion.


V-TEN KINDS OF MERIT

The Bodhi Mind, like Sovereign Sakra, surpasses all other lords.
The Bodhi Mind, like Vaisravana, eliminates all the suffering of the poor.
The Bodhi Mind, like the Heaven of Merit, is adorned with all kinds of merits.
The Bodhi Mind, like an intricately decorated robe, adorns all kind of merits.
The Bodhi Mind, like the annihilating fire at the end of a Kalpa, consumes all the phenomena of the world.
The Bodhi Mind, like the good root of non-being-born, is the medicine that produces all Buddhadharmas.
The Bodhi Mind, like a dragon-pearl, dissolves all the poisons of defilement.
The Bodhi Mind, like the Cintamani, supports all poor beings of the world.
The Bodhi Mind, like a vase of merit, satisfies all sentient beings.
The Bodhi Mind, like a fruitful tree, can, at will, rain down all kinds of adornments.


VI-THIRTEEN KINDS OF MERIT

The Bodhi Mind, like a goose-down coat, repels the cold defilements of birth and death.
The Bodhi Mind, like a glistening, white blanket of snow, originally has a pure, immaculate nature.
The Bodhi Mind, like a sharpened plough, cuts through and ploughs up the karmic fields of all sentient beings.
The Bodhi Mind, like a Narayana, destroys all enemies who grasp the ego-view.
The Bodhi Mind, like a swift arrow, pierces all suffering.
The Bodhi Mind, like a sharp spear, strikes right through the armor of defilement.
The Bodhi Mind, like hard armor, protects all reasonable minds.
The Bodhi Mind, like a  sharp sword, cuts away all major obstacles and defilemtns.
The Bodhi Mind, like a sharp sword, cuts through the armor of arrogance.
The Bodhi Mind, like the pennant of a fearless general, subdues all demonic trouble.
The Bodhi Mind, like a sharp, whirring saw, topples and cuts to bits the whole tree of ignorance.
The Bodhi Mind, like sharp ox teeth, strips down and chews up the whole tree of suffering.
The Bodhi Mind, like military arms, defends against all kinds of hard, cruel suffering.
VII-ELEVEN KINDS OF MERIT
The Bodhi Mind, like an inexhaustible treasury, produces and pays out merits endlessly.
The Bodhi Mind, like a fountain, gushes up the water of wisdom without exhaustion.
The Bodhi Mind, like a bright mirror reveals all Dharma doors.
The Bodhi Mind, like a great lotus, is not defiled by any evil or dirty thing.
The Bodhi Mind, like a great river, gushes forth all Dharmas to nourish, receive and convert all sentient beings.
The Bodhi Mind, like a great Dragon-King rains down all kinds of wonderful Dharmas.
The Bodhi Mind, like the root of life, holds the great Compassion-Body of Bodhi.
The Bodhi Mind, like sweet dew, is safe and abides forever.
The Bodhi Mind, like vast net, catches and holds all the sentient beings of the world.
The Bodhi Mind, like tight, strong ropes, binds and holds all sentient beings until they are converted.
The Bodhi Mind, like a hook-and-bait, catches and draws up all living beings out of the abyss of ignorance.


IX-THIRTEEN KINDS OF MERIT

The Bodhi Mind, like the Agara, treats and cures all illnesses.
The Bodhi Mind, like a disinfectant, sterilizes the infections and poisons of greed and delusion.
The Bodhi Mind, like holding and chanting a Mantra, neutralizes and eliminates all the poisons of perversion.
The Bodhi Mind, like strong wind turns, blows swiftly land clears away all the fog and obstacles of delusion.
The Bodhi Mind, like a great continent, contains all the precious germs of the Enlightened Mind.
The Bodhi Mind, like the nature of a good seed, produces and sprouts all kinds of Pure Dharma.
The Bodhi Mind, like a great house, contains all the lasting, secure, dependable merits f the Dharma.
The Bodhi Mind, like a busy market, is the place of trade of all Bodhisattvas
The Bodhi Mind, like a medicine of smelted gold, eliminates all dirty defilements and cures all diseases.
The Bodhi Mind, like sweet honey, possesses the taste of all merits.
The Bodhi Mind, like the right path or way, leads all Bodhisattvas to the entrance of the City of Wisdom.
The Bodhi Mind, like a strong container, holds all kinds of radiant Pure Dharmas.
The Bodhi Mind, like timely rain, washes away all the dust of defilement.


X-EIGHT KINDS OF MERIT

The Bodhi Mind, like a handsome residence, is a place for all Bodhisattvas to dwell and abide in.
The Bodhi Mind, like the most brilliant diamond, instantly and radiantly outshines the dull fruit of liberation achieved by a Sravaka during a lifetime of practice.
The Bodhi Mind, like a pure Vaidurya, has a bright, clean nature with no defilements.
The Bodhi Mind, like a precious green jewel of an emperor, surpasses all the wisdom of Sravakas and Pratyeka-Buddhas.
The Bodhi Mind, like a nighwatchman's drum, awakens all sentient beings from their distressful nightmare.
The Bodhi Mind, like clear, pure water, is originally clear, pure and bright.
The Bodhi Mind, like Jambunada-Suvarna, spartles, reflecting all good actions in the world.


XI-TEN KINDS OF MERIT

The Bodhi Mind, like a secure, peaceful haven, does not reject anyone who returns.
The Bodhi Mind, like justice, benefits all sentient beings and rids them of every defilement and banishes loneliness.
The Bodhi Mind, like the most wonderful, fortunate condition, lets the mind abide in true happiness always.
The Bodhi Mind, like a great assembly giving alms, fills to overflowing the minds of all sentient beings.
The Bodhi Mind, like an underground treasure house, holds and keeps safe all the Buddhadharma.
The Bodhi Mind, like the net of Indra, catches and filters out all the defilements of Asuras.
The Bodhi Mind, like the World Honored Victorious One, surpasses the minds of all sentient beings.
The Bodhi Mind, like the wind of Varuna, blows away all obstacles to conversion.
The Bodhi Mind, like the fire of Indra, bums away all delusions and bad habits.
The Bodhi Mind, like Buddha's Caitya, receives all the offerings of the world.
ALL MERITS ARE EQUAL

        Good men and good women! The Bodhi Mind, indeed, contains all these aforementioned countless merits. However, you should understand that all Dharmas and all Merits are, in reality, equal. Why? Just because the Bodhi Mind produces all the actions of the Bodhisattvas, and because all the Tathagatas of the three periods issue from the Bodhi Mind. Therefore, good men and good women, if one has the mind of Anuttara-Samyak-Sambodhi, then he will surely attain the Dharma of Superior Merits and hold the key to the Tao of Wisdom.

THE TEN ARTICLES OF FAITH OF CH'AN MASTER CH'EH WUH

1) Believe that after birth must come death.
2) Believe that life is impermanent.
3) Believe that the wheel of transmigration is a dangerous way.
4) Believe that suffering is long-term and constant.
5) Believe that the Buddha's words are not false.
6) Believe that the Pure Land really exists.
7) Believe that if one wishes to be born in the Pure Land, he really can be born there.
8) Believe that if one is born in the Pure Land, he will never regress.
9) Believe that it is possible Buddha in this present lifetime.
10) Believe that all Dharmas are created by Mind.

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